Castillo equine tendon

Tenoscopic Debridement or Surgical Repair for Longitudinal Tears of the Equine Deep Digital Flexor Tendon Within the Digital Flexor Tendon Sheath?

Daniel Castillo, Neal Ashton

Published:  07/06/2018    in:  Knowledge Summaries

Castillo equine tendon
PICO question

In horses with longitudinal tears of the deep digital flexor tendon within the digital flexor tendon sheath, is surgical repair as effective as tenoscopic debridement alone for returning to previous level of performance?

Clinical bottom line

Current literature on the efficacy of surgical repair or tenoscopic debridement is limited. Criteria to define and evaluate performance outcomes is not uniform and confounded with multiple variables, merely representing low quality evidence that is difficult to draw meaningful conclusions from. However, the literature suggests tenoscopic debridement alone has been associated with improved outcomes. A more definitive conclusion cannot be made until higher quality evidence is made available on this topic.


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  1. Arensburg, L., Wilderjans, H., Simon, O., et al., (2011) Nonseptic tenosynovitis of the digital flexor tendon sheath caused by longitudinal tears in the digital flexor tendons: A retrospective study of 135 tenoscopic procedures. Equine vet. J. 43 (6) 660-668. Doi:
  2. Smith, M.R.W., Wright, I.M. (2006) Noninfected tenosynovitis of the digital flexor tendon sheath: a retrospective analysis of 76 cases. Equine vet. J. 38, 134-141. Doi:
  3. Wilderjans, H., Boussauw, B., Madder, K., et al., (2003) Tenosynovitis of the digital flexor tendon sheath and annular ligament constriction syndrome caused by longitudinal tears in the deep digital flexor tendon: a clinical and surgical report of 17 cases in Warmblood horses. Equine vet. J. 35, 270-275. Doi:
  4. Wilderjans, H., Boussauw, B. (2006) Deep digital flexor tendon lesions in the fetlock region: a retrospective study of 108 tenoscopies of digital flexor tendon sheaths suspected of deep digital flexor tendon laceration. Management of lameness causes and sport horses: muscle, tendon, joint and bone disorders. Conference on Equine Sports Medicine and Science. Cambridge, UK. 21-23 July 2006: 15-25.
  5. Wright, I.M., McMahon, P.J. (1999) Tenosynovitis associated with longitudinal tears of the digital flexor tendons in horses: a report of 20 cases. Equine vet. J. 31, 12-18. Doi:

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Copyright (c) 2018 Daniel Castillo, Neal Ashton

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